UCL Urban Laboratory


Opening Workshop

View the program and access audio presentations

13-14 Nov 2019    UCL Department of Geography, London UK 

The Opening Workshop for the Making Africa Urban project consisted of nine sessions which were split across two days, engaging with the three cities and three circuits that are the focus of the Making Africa Urban project. The Workshop was the first time the team got the chance to meet in person, to share their insights and set a cooperative path for the five year project. As well as engaging with the three cities and circuits, the workshop included insights on urban development politics from researchers working in other African cities, and across the globe.  Highlights of the event included an opening lecture from Vanessa Watson on Digital Visualization and Urban Change in African, and sessions on each of the case study cities – the session on Lilongwe found five experts on that city together for a rare opportunity to reflect on urban development in Malawi. The concluding comments from Garth Myers, Sophie Oldfield and Maliq Simone gave us much food for thought as we started the research project. Not long after this event, though, COVID arrived and we have had to switch to working together virtually. So the workshop was a valuable opportunity to share knowledge and research in person.

View the workshop program below and click the links to access video presentations from the event.

Session 1 - Welcome and Opening

Jennifer Robinson
Making Africa Urban: The transcalar politics of  large-scale urban development
Vanessa Watson
Digital visualization and new drivers of urban change in Africa

Session 2 - Sovereign Circuits

Balakrishnan Rajagopal
International law and the structure of the new urban racial capitalism
Susan Parnell and Sylvia Croese (Skype)
SDG localization in Africa
Chris Alden
Chinese Investment in Africa

Session 3 - Accra

Tom Gillespie  
The real estate frontier
Austin Ablo
Urban Enclaving: Conceptualising private urban development in Africa
George Owusu
Road corridor infrastructure and its impact on the growth and expansion of the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area, Ghana

Session 4 - Dar es Salaam

Wilbard Kombe
Contours of Land Development in Tanzania
Seth Schindler
Getting the territory right: infrastructure-led development and the re-emergence of spatial planning strategies
Claire Mercer
The politics of urban development in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Session 5 - African Urban Politics

Chloe Buire
Suturing Luanda After the Boom: recomposing associational life in a city on hold
Laurent Fourchard
Patrons, street level bureaucrats and urban resources
Tom Goodfellow
The politics of urban ‘infrastructural misfits’:  Chinese road and rail in Kampala and Addis

Session 6 - Circuits II

Tom Cowan
Finding private property on India’s urban frontier
Hyun Shin
Moving the Mountain and Greening the Sea for Whom? ‘Forest City’ and the Transplantation of Green Urbanism in Iskandar Malaysia
Femke van Noorloos
New master-planned cities, from circuits and governance to local impacts: the case of Konza Techno City, Kenya

Session 7 - Lilongwe

Evance Mwathunga
Contesting and negotiating global urban processes in Lilongwe city, Malawi
Maria Rusca
Making Lilongwe urban: the production of inequalities within the centralized water supply network
Debby Potts
Where does a policy circuit start? The history of the undoing of an experiment in low-income housing: Lilongwe’s Traditional Housing Areas (THAs)
Comments and Discussion
Lilongwe session comments and discussion - Introduction by Hilde Refstie

Session 8 - Comparative Reflections and Comments

Reflections and Comments
Garth Myers, Sophie Oldfield and Maliq Simone